One of the best sources of information and research on perception, reality, and virtual reality is a 2011 book entitled “Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution” by Jim Blascovich and Jeremy Bailenson. These research scientists (at UC Santa Barbara and Stanford) performed thorough research with fascinating results.
One of their conclusions agrees with scientists like Dr. Amrit Goswami in his book, “The Visionary Window” as well as earlier quotes in this blog: that reality is created by our minds, in a form of constructed information, by a constant stream of perceptions. The catch is that our perceptions are fallible and are also manipulated by previous experiences:
“Scientists know that what people see, hear, touch, smell, and taste are really impoverished versions of external stimuli.” 1
“… all of perceived reality is virtual” 2
“virtual reality is just an exercise in manipulating these perceptions.” 3
According to Master Charles Cannon, “We are forms of consciousness, individuated forms of cosmic consciousness and we evolve. The measure of evolution is self-awareness. The question, in terms of our evolution, is: how aware are we, how wakeful are we, or how much of true reality are we really perceiving? Or are we not perceiving true reality because we don’t have enough self-awareness?” 4
Perception and Belief
So the question is: what is perception? How do we “perceive”? How do we create belief?
Perception and belief are delineated brilliantly in Thomas Asacker’s “The Business of Belief: How the World's Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe”. Here are 5 relevant excerpts:
- “… that’s how our brains evolved – by seeking patterns and making meaning, everywhere and all the time.”
- “Our perception becomes our reality, and a belief is born.”
- “… [perception] draws upon context, memories and desires to simulate a cohesive whole.”
- “… your mind simply wants to understand and make predictions. So it will invent dots until it envisions a coherent picture.”
- “Everything is inherently without meaning. Except for the meaning we create.”
So why do we hold onto some perceptions and beliefs, yet dismiss others?
Asacker further writes that6:
- “There are times when we hold tight to our memories and beliefs, even in the face of disconfirming evidence … when they have been infused with emotion and personal relevance.”
- “The job of the conscious mind is to automatically produce a story to make sense out of our perceptions and reflections.”
- “Imagined experiences are processed as real ones – the very same neurons are being connected and activated.”
- “Our brains have evolved to work that way, to transform reality by making up cause and effect stories [emphasis added].”
- “Stories are powerful. Because we all become the stories we tell ourselves.”
The Metaphysics of Stories … the Road to Game Mastery and Peace
Master Charles Cannon takes it to the next level: “The ultimate question, of course, is: If you know who you are with your stories, who would you be without them? If you had no story, what’s left? What remains when the stories end? What remains in the stillness of a mind? This has been the exploration of all mystics throughout our history, and it’s given birth to what is referred to as the contemplative traditions.
Human beings come to the awakening moment, questioning and getting to the point of seeing that their experience is only ever a reflection of the story they are telling at any moment, of the beliefs conscious and unconscious, within them, that flavor their experience of reality. Taking it further, if stories color perception of reality, what would reality be with no story? What would it be if the mind could experience stillness in duration and what’s the explorational medium for such? Meditation. Instead of the noise that is its constant, what about its opposite, stillness?
So, question the stories to see how they flavor your experience of reality … so you can at least change from illusory stories to truthful stories … and then ultimately simplify the stories and go beyond them.
This is investment in self-awareness, if you are interested in the mastery of what it means to be human.”7
REFERENCES FOR FURTHER READING:
1. Jim Blasovich, Jeremy Bailenson, Infinite Reality: Avatars, Eternal Life, New Worlds, and the Dawn of the Virtual Revolution (Harper Collins e-books; Reprint edition, April 5, 2011), pg. 9.
2. Ibid., page 257
3. Ibid., pg. 14
4. Master Charles Cannon, Presentations in retreats.
5. Thomas Asacker, ““The Business of Belief: How the World's Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe” (Amazon Digital Services, Inc. 2013), pages 27-29.
6. Ibid., pgs. 31-40.
7. Master Charles Cannon, Presentations in retreats.